The English language can be so confusing. If you are prone to worry or anxiety, you may have heard before that you “shouldn’t live in fear.” But then in Scripture we read about the fear of the Lord as an antecedent to wisdom and “good understanding” (Ps. 111:10). So, should we live in fear or not? What does this mean?

Anxious thoughts only lead to more worry and self-defeating behaviors. But, the fear of the Lord (in Hebrew, Yirat Adonai) does not mean that you should shake in your boots because of what God will do to you. Instead, Yirah (Hebrew, fear) is a healthy fear that reflects awe and reverence. Yirah emulates a kind of dedication to God that brings awareness and brings life.

The Lord delights in you and desires that you follow his commands in order that you may know life. The Psalmist writes, “Happy are those who fear the Lord, who greatly delight in his commandments.” How can you (or do you) find joy in fearing God and his commands? What commands are easy to find joy in? Difficult? What barriers, if any, are there for you in living in reverent fear?

Sara Ralph is a counselor in Pennsylvania, the wife of this blog’s editor and a past volunteer and Camp Meeting attendee.

For more devotions for the holiday season, check out our Advent Devotion book available for $6.99 (plus shipping) online.

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